Brands warned over 'ad collisions'

30 August 2012

NEW YORK: Wasteful ad placement is significantly damaging the value derived from many online campaigns, according to findings from digital market research firm AdSafe Media.

The company's "Semi-Annual Review", which derived its findings from billions of ad impressions, show that 6-7% of ads appear with another ad from the same campaign when the typical web page is served to a user.

This in turn suggests that advertisers are wasting $60,000-$70,000 on each $1m digital ad buy.  Such "ad collisions" could also distort campaign effectiveness measurement by attracting click and impression fraud. 

The growth of automated ad-selling and buying, specifically the rising popularity of real-time bidding, was cited by the AdSafe report as a major cause of this trend.

Speaking to MediaPost, Scott Knoll, chief executive officer of AdSafe, noted that brands should consider these factors when planning digital adspend. "The industry is so focused on cooking targeting and buying a user they've lost track of targeting quality media," he said.

Another key metric judged by the report was viewability, defined as 50% or more of the ad being visible in the browser window for at least one second.

AdSafe found that there was little differentiation by browser, with an average of 40% viewability regardless of whether the consumer was using Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer or Chrome.

But differences arose based on the type of website, with sites offering practical services such as travel bookings or property purchases, showing a higher level of engagement than content-only sites.

Overall, more than 40% of directly placed ads are viewable for at least one second and less than a quarter remain in view for 15 seconds.

Viewability increases significantly for ads on religious or spiritual websites, where users stay on the average page for around 200 seconds, with ads viewable for nearly eight seconds.

Home and garden came in second place on this metric, with 75 seconds of viewing time per page meaning a full seven seconds of viewing for the directly placed ads.

Data sourced from AdSafe Media and MediaPost; additional content by Warc staff